Original Published 19:44 May 19, 2022

By Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division expanded its bad-weather travel policy from athletics to all extracurricular programs during their regular meeting on Monday.

The change means rules governing when sports teams are not allowed to travel will now be applied to other student activities, like band or theatre.

Education director Lorel Trumier said most schools already enforced one set of rules for all student-related traveling. The policy update simply puts it into writing.

 “We renamed it last night to extend what was naturally happening,” Trumier explained.

 “We felt that the policy was working overall. It just required refinement. It was being applied in practice in other areas.”

Trumier said the sports team policy was created during a time when inclement weather was a major concern. The division wanted to make sure staff had clear directions about how to manage those situations.

The policy includes multiple conditions and guidelines that must be met before students can travel. The list includes receiving permission from the school principle, and mandatory driver training for anyone driving the division’s 15-passenger vans.

 “Let’s say they are taking a team to Swift Current and the roads are terrible,” Trumier explained. “What are the processes and procedures for decision making before you get on the road with our students in that kind of situation?

 “If the teacher that feels it’s not appropriate to get on the road, then there is a process and procedure for that. We are insuring that the people who have to put the children in their care at those times have a clear direction of what we are expecting.”

 Trumier said the school recognizes the value of extra-curricular and co-curricular student activities, and supports school principals and staff in their efforts to offer them. The goal is to ensure the trip is as safe as possible.

 Trumier said they’re happy with how the sports team policy was working, so they expanded it to other areas.

 Travel policy wasn’t the only item up for discussion at Monday’s meeting.

 The board also learned that Minister of Health Paul Merriman was unable to commit to a meeting and visit with the schools. However, Merriman passed the invitation on to Prince Albert MLAs Joe Hargrave and Alana Ross.

 Trumier said they’ll do their best to make sure the government can see the work they’re doing.

 “We are going to try to structure some times to meet with our MLAs regarding our interministerial wishes,” she explained. “We know that Minister Merriman is very busy. His office did make contact and extended the invitation at the MLA level so we will certainly take them up on that.

 The school division sent invitations to the Ministers of Education, Health and Social Services in April.

This item reprinted with permission from Daily Herald, Prince Albert. Saskatchewan